Karađorđe's Park

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Karađorđe's Park (Serbian: Карађорђев парк/Karađorđev park) is a public park and an urban neighborhood of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. While the park itself is located in Belgrade's municipality of Vračar, majority of what is today considered the neighborhood of Karađorđev Park is since 1957 located in the municipality of Savski Venac (though historically still within the old, much larger neighborhood of Vračar). In 1979 Karađorđev Park was added to Historic Landmarks of Great Importance list, and it is protected by Republic of Serbia.


Karađorđev Park is located on the southern slope of the Vračar hill, beginning at the Vračar plateau and the National Library of Serbia and ending at the highway interchange of Autokomanda. It is elongated in the north to south direction, bordered by the Boulevard of the Liberation on the west and the Nebojšina street on the east. Today, Karađorđev Park in the term of neighborhood covers larger area than the park itself. It is bordered by the neighborhoods of Vračar on the north, Neimar on the east and Autokomanda on the south, but the term spread on the area west and northwest of the park (former sections of Zapadni Vračar and Englezovac/Savinac, respectively), so basically all the area along the Boulevard of Liberation from Autokomanda to the Slavija square is today called Karađorđev Park. Across the northernmost top of the park to the west is another park, Park Milutin Milanković. It is one of the busiest parts of Belgrade with very dense traffic as the Boulevard of Liberation is one of the major routes to downtown Belgrade. Area is mostly non-residential, with public buildings (the Faculty of the veterinarian medicine of the University of Belgrade, many clinics of the Belgrade Clinical Center, Children University Hospital, Belgrade Meteorological Station, etc.).


The predecessor to the modern park was a camp set by the Serbian army in 1806 during the siege of Belgrade in the First Serbian Uprising. After the Serbs secured Belgrade, soldiers killed in the battle on the liberation day, 30 November 1806, were buried at this place and the place was arranged as the Insurgents Cemetery in 1848, when the Monument to the Liberators of Belgrade was also erected. The 5.5 m (18 ft) tall memorial was one of the first public monuments in Belgrade. Out of the 50 original tombstones, 12 still survives. The patron of the monument was Aleksandar Karađorđević, the ruling prince of Serbia, and son of the First Serbian Uprising leader and the founder of the Karađorđević royal family, Karađorđe.After the monument was erected, it was suggested that the park should be planted around it. City officials dismissed the idea, citing lack of necessary funds. One of the first avenues in Belgrade was planted along the Kragujevac Road (modern Liberation Boulevard), in 1848, from which the park developed in time. The planted seedlings were of chestnut trees, and the chestnut alley descending from the original one still survives in the park. By 1887, the cemetery and monument became neglected.After ascending to the throne in 1889, king Alexander Obrenović ordered for the cemetery to be arranged. The remaining tombs were rearranged, the monument was renovated and the metal fence was placed around it, while the seedlings of black locust were planted in order to form the memorial park. As the king was coming from the Obrenović dynasty, a fierce rival of the former (and future) Karađorđević dynasty, this was seen as the kings attempt to reconcile two ruling families. Also, after creation of this one, numerous other memorial parks began to form throughout Serbia.Another dynastic change followed in 1903, when the Karađorđević dynasty was restored the Serbian throne. Originally outside of the urban core of Belgrade, there were plans for the enlargement of the park 1903-1904, in order to mark the centennial of the First Serbian Uprising, which broke out in 1804. The works began only in 1907, after king Peter I Karađorđević became also president of the Society for the Embellishment of the Monuments, Parks and Environment. The society leveled the park's terrain, created pathways, planted grass, lindens, chestnuts and decorative shrubs. The hedge which encircled the park was also planted, while thujas were planted around the monument. This way, more or less, the present borders of the park were set.Plans were made to erect a Monument to the Third-Class Reservists in 1914, but due to the outbreak of World War I, the monument was erected on 29 July 1923. After the war, additional monuments were erected in the park. Since the occupational Austro-Hungarian forces demolished the Karađorđe monument in Kalemegdan, in 1916, it was proposed after the war that new monument should be built in the park, close to the tombs of his comrades-in-arms. Also after the war, the park got its present name. The monument to Karađorđe was erected only in 1979, but it is located across the park. It is situated on the Vračar plateau, on the top of the mound at the entry section of the path which leads to the Church of Saint Sava.Neglected for a long time, Karađorđev Park went through massive reconstruction and beautification in the early 2000s which completely rejuvenated the park, including new benches, children playgrounds and candelabra. The idea at the time was to turn it into the first English type park in Belgrade, with added wall around the park, gates with porters and working hours, but after the failed bids for the job, the idea was put on hold for the time being.



There is a small, pavilion-type house in the central part of the park. There were also two swimming pools in front of it, built during the Interbellum. After World War II, in the 1950s, the venue was adapted into the children's cultural center. In time, the venue was abandoned and the pools were covered with earth and the flowers were planted. There was another, even smaller, green pavilion, at the plateau behind the house. It was used for selling food and beverages, but was demolished later. In September 2019 it was announced that the house will be adapted into the "Momo Kapor Endowment".


Monuments in the park include: "Monument to the Liberators of Belgrade" (Spomenik oslobodiocima Beograda/Споменик ослободиоцима Београда), erected in 1848, the oldest public monument in Belgrade. Dedicated to those killed in the liberation of Belgrade in 1806, it is 547 centimeters high, made of stone with the cover of artificial rock. Erected by the prince Aleksandar Karađorđević, it was renovated by the king Aleksandar Obrenović in 1889. "Monument to the third-class reservists" (Spomenik Trećepozivaca/Споменик Трећепозиваца, author Stamenko Đurđević), erected in 1923, dedicated to the soldiers of the final reserve (those unfitting for drafting and summoned only in the extreme situations) killed in the World War I. Made of natural stone, it is 470 centimeters high. "Monument to Alphonse de Lamartine" (Spomenik Lamartinu/Споменик Ламартину), dedicated to the French poet, erected in 1933 (street dedicated to him, Lamartinova, also begins here). Stone memorial dedicated to the victims killed in an underground shelter during German bombing of Belgrade on April 6, 1941. Built hastily before the war began, it suffered a direct hit by a bomb and collapsed, killing 192 Belgraders. In 1979 it was decided to erect the Monument to Karađorđe (author Sreten Stojanović), but instead in the park named after him, the monument was erected on the Vračar plateau, across the Nebojšina street, in front of the Temple of Saint Sava.
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